Romantic Adventure Vacations

Spice up your relationship with adrenaline-fueled getaways like mountain biking in the holy land and scuba diving in Belize's Mayan country.


Photo by: Richard Carey

Richard Carey

If you’re looking to recharge your romance by getting away together, an adventure sports vacation could reignite your spark. Why? That heart-pounding, sweaty-palm feeling you get when you’re first falling in love is partly due to your body’s release of adrenaline and cortisol. Those same stress hormones are also triggered when you’re doing adventure activities such as, say, skiing or mountain biking. Moreover, getting away with your partner can help refuel your sex life and make you feel more connected because it takes you of out of your daily routines.

The best vacations for couples allow plenty of opportunities to de-stress and unwind, as well as offer adventure activities to make your relationship feel more fun. Check out these 3 destinations that offer excitement and relaxation among romantic backdrops.

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Mountain Biking in the Holy Land
Mild weather and stunning desert landscape make mountain biking in Israel’s Negev desert an ideal way to explore, and more and more trails are being marked for adventurous tourists. (If you’d rather explore on your own 2 feet, the Israel National Trail is a nearly 600-mile hiking path that traverses the nation.) Geofun Desert Cycling Center is located near the unique Ramon Crater and offers multi-day tours with experienced guides, as well as bike rentals.

The most romantic -- and luxurious -- place to stay on the Ramon Crater is the new Beresheet Hotel. Set 2,600 feet above sea level on the edge of the crater and designed to blend in with the desert landscape, the structures are made of natural elements such as wood and stone. Have a sunset drink while gazing out at the crater in the infinity pool; get a couples massage or soak in the Turkish baths at the Carmel Forest Spa; and lounge over locally-sourced food (such as the sinfully sweet sesame paste confection known as halva) in the gourmet restaurant.

Foodies have plenty of options to help them refuel after a day of pedaling. Several private farms-cum-B&Bs have sprung up in the Negev Highlands as part of a unique settlement project that’s trying to reconstruct the lifestyle on the trail of the ancient “Spice Route.” Travelers can visit organic desert wineries and olive groves set on craggy cliffs, and sleep at one of the new B&Bs built with the environment in mind. The Carmey Avdat Farm sells its organic produce and locally-grown wines, and also gives visitors the option to spend the night in cabins that blend into the landscape using river pebbles for the floor, clay for the walls and wrought-iron furniture hand-crafted by the owner.

Heli-Hiking in the Canadian Rockies

Fresh air coupled with breathtaking wilderness can recharge your relationship and your soul. If you truly want to get away from it all, Canadian Mountain Holidays organizes both heli-skiing and heli-hiking adventures in nature’s solitude while offering mountain luxury accommodations after a hard day of play.

Founded by Austrian mountaineer Hans Gmoser more than 40 years ago, CMH is the place where heli-skiing was invented, and has been transporting adventurers into untouched territory ever since. You don’t need to maneuver around mountain-sized moguls to enjoy such solitude, thanks to the variety of heli-hiking summer adventures that the company offers -- including a 3-day heli-hiking and yoga retreat. They’ll even custom-design a trip tailored to your specific needs, and couples who really want to splurge can book the entire lodge for private use.

A 14-passenger helicopter delivers hikers into the heart of British Columbia’s pristine landscape where majestic peaks, wildflower-dotted meadows, alpine lakes and ancient glaciers await. Experienced guides help you choose your own adventure based on your personal hiking abilities and desires, and lunches are eaten picnic-style in the romantic peaks. It’s up to you whether you want to hike once a day, 3 times a day, or not at all. While exploring breathtaking terrain is a surefire bonding experience, so too is sipping coffee together on one of the lodge’s sun-drenched decks; easing your bodies and spirits with a massage at the rooftop spa; or indulging your appetite with 5-star cuisine and wine lists while admiring the mountain view in the casual, family-style dining room.

Diving Deep in Mayan Country

Belize may not be the first destination that comes to mind for a couples retreat, but its abundance of beach resorts, organic spas, lush nature and adventure activities sets the mood for romance. The small country is roughly the size of New Hampshire, bordered by Mexico and Guatemala, and lapped by aquamarine Caribbean waters. It’s also home to the world’s second largest barrier reef.

Couples can explore this underwater world off the coast of Ambergris Caye, a 25-mile long Caribbean island. Stay at The Phoenix Resort in San Pedro, a fishing-village-turned-dive-destination where golf carts are more common than cars on the sandy cobblestone streets. Couples staying at the resort can relax on their private veranda overlooking the sea, soak in the Jacuzzi tub stocked with Aveda products, and splash around in the saline infinity and lap pools. Less than a 5-minute beach walk away is Amigos Del Mar dive shop, where you can sign up for a couple’s snorkeling or dive trip. You can swim with stingrays and nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley, or visit the Blue Hole together to peer into the top of an ancient underwater cave with a collapsed roof.

After exploring this underwater world with your partner, experience some Mayan healing when you’re back on the surface. Sol Spa, located inside the Phoenix Resort, offers traditional Mayan treatments. It’s run by Utah-born sisters Carrie and Charlene Tengler, who both traveled to the mountains of western Belize to get trained in Mayan Abdominal Massage from the technique’s founder, Dr. Rosita Arvigo.

When done regularly, MAM helps with irregular periods, infertility, and digestive problems such as acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome. The restorative massage also helps you feel more balanced. Another treatment for couples to try is the organic cocoa and masa (or cornmeal) glo. It smells delicious, and both ingredients are staples in the traditional Mayan diet. Your therapist adds salt and then applies the mixture with expert strokes to buff your skin. Chocolate doesn’t need to be eaten to be an aphrodisiac.

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